Daily News and F1 Comment: Saturday 26th September, 2015


Pirelli respond to allegations of ‘tyre fixing’

Following the astonishing lack of performance in the Mercedes cars in Singapore, certain media outlets were speculating that Mercedes had been ‘nobbled’ and given sub-standard tyres for the Singapore GP.

In an official statement, Pirelli attempt to refute these suggestions.

“Pirelli brings around 1700 tyres to each grand prix, but the destiny of these tyres is mapped out long before they arrive at the circuit. The tyres for each race are made in a specific production run before the grand prix.

During the production process at the Izmit factory in Turkey – the sole source of this year’s Formula One tyres – each tyre is fitted with a barcode that is physically supplied by the FIA: world motorsport’s governing body. This barcode is the tyre’s ‘passport’, which is embedded firmly into the structure during the vulcanisation process and cannot be swapped. The code contains all the details of each tyre, making it traceable throughout the race weekend with Pirelli’s RTS (Racing Tyre System) software, which can read and update all the data.

Once the production run for each grand prix is finished, the Izmit factory sends a list of the bar codes to Pirelli’s logistics and distribution hub at Didcot in the United Kingdom. There, Pirelli’s system randomly groups the bar codes into blocks of four – comprising two rears and two fronts – which will make up a tyre set. This list of blocks is then sent to the FIA.

The FIA subsequently allocates blocks of bar codes – and therefore sets of tyres – to each individual car at random. The FIA prescribes a set of harder compound tyres to be used in the first 30 minutes of FP1 and a set of softer compound tyres to be used in Q3 for each car. The teams can then use the other sets allocated to each car in whichever order they like, as long as each car only uses the tyres that have been allocated for it. The only other limitation is that the tyres from each set have to be of the same compound.

Pirelli itself is not involved in this whole process at all, meaning that the Italian firm cannot in any way influence which tyres are allocated to which teams, or when they are used – although a rigorous quality control process ensures that all the tyres leaving the factory are identical anyway.

Once at the circuit, the tyres are given to the teams in strict compliance with the allocation that has been prepared by the FIA. The bar codes allow both the FIA and Pirelli to ensure that the right teams, according to the regulations, are using the correct randomly assigned tyres.

Each team is assigned a Pirelli engineer, who works exclusively with that team for all of the year, but the database that every engineer works off allows the engineer to see only information relating specifically to his or her team over the weekend, so that individual strategies are not compromised. All technical data relating to the tyres and their performance on the track is overseen by a selected group of Pirelli Research and Development engineers based in Milan, who monitor all the information in order to assist the team in charge of shaping the next generation of tyres.

Paul Hembery added:

“Once the production run for each grand prix is finished, the Izmit factory sends a list of the bar codes to Pirelli’s logistics and distribution hub at Didcot in the United Kingdom. There, Pirelli’s system randomly groups the bar codes into blocks of four, comprising two rears and two fronts, which will make up a tyre set. This list of blocks is then sent to the (governing) FIA. The FIA subsequently allocates blocks of bar codes — and therefore sets of tyres — to each individual car at random. Deciding which tyres are allocated to which teams, or when they are used, is a job taken care of entirely by the FIA once the tyres have left the factory. It is just another way that impartiality can be ensured among all the teams, which has always been a huge priority for us as exclusive tyre supplier.”

Fernando Alonso said he has never seen anything like the radical performance differential Mercedes displayed between Monza and Singapore. “We have all been here many years, and we never saw [any team] being one second faster all year long and being 1.5 seconds slower for another race.

“This is a mystery that we will probably never understand. But this is F1. You take it or you leave it.”

On the conspiracy theory suggestions, Toto Wolff said after the Singapore race: “I need to be careful what I say… it crosses my mind.

“We had a situation in the DTM where the tyre was changed mid-season this year, and I didn’t think it was possible.

“We’ve seen a lot of things, but I don’t think Pirelli would do that.”

Despite the rain yesterday in Japan, it appears Mercedes performance was more normative – but only a dry session will tell all.

Alonso: “There are other categories where I can be world champion”

10 years ago this weekend, Fernando Alonso won his first F1 drivers’ title. After the barren years he spent at Ferrari, Alonso decided to jump ship and leave for McLaren. He repeatedly answered questions about the MacHonda project towards the end of last season by stating, “the best is yet to come”.

Speaking to Spanish publication Marca Alonso’s rhetoric has changed as he admits he may end up leaving F1 without another title.

“It feels as if it was 20 years ago since I won the title, or at least that’s my perception after everything I’ve been through. I think Russia will be my 250th grand prix, but like they say, 10 years is nothing, and I hope I can win the title again.

“And if it’s not here [in F1], there are other categories where I can be a world champion, so I still have a few years left.”

Earlier this year it became apparent, Alonso wanted to race in the Le Mans series along side Nico Hulkenberg. However, McLaren boss Ron Dennis refused to allow this because Porsche are a competitor of McLaren Automotive.

Briatore admits Alonso would still be at Ferrari had Marco Mattiacci not arrived

Flavio Briattore tells El Mundo that had Marco Mattiacci not been appointed as Ferrari team boss, Alonso would never had left.

“I encouraged him to leave Ferrari and go to McLaren. He could not continue there,” revealed the flamboyant Italian.

Briatore is critical of Ferrari for losing Alonso the 2010 title with a poor race strategy: “They lost themselves a title they had won.”

On the McLaren Honda horror show and Fernando’s move to Woking, Briattore is confident Honda will turn things around.

“No one imagined such a disaster, but I know Honda well.” He adds that even though Honda have gone their own way on a different kind of design for the new F1 turbo engines, “in 2016 will be fighting for podiums.”

Given it was Flavio who advised Fernando to leave Ferrari, lets hope he’s right.

Mr E takes pity on the Lotus crew and allows them to eat at the rich boy’s table

Perhaps he’s feeling a touch bad for this historic(ish) team being on the brink? Irony being that Mr E is arguably one of the major reasons for F1 team’s money woes.

Having suffered more financial problems – paying for their air freight (to FOM) – Lotus have been unable to organise catering in Japan for their race crew.

The team tweeted a big thank you to Uncle Bernie “If you’ve been wondering where we’ve been eating today… Mr E had us covered”. 


The team were invited to eat in the “Paddock Club” which charges its rich clients between £2-3,000 for the weekend.

Earlier this month, Ecclestone advanced the team £1.5 million to cover the wages of 400 people at Lotus. But Bernie claims he is baffled why Renault have not yet concluded the deal to buy the Enstone team in an interview with Reuters.

“Apparently Renault are going to take over Lotus. Apparently.

“This is what has been foreseen. Whether it will be completed, I don’t know.

“If they don’t complete it (the takeover) by Monday or put some money in soon… unless Renault come to the party, it won’t happen.”

Lotus are back in court facing a winding up order from HMRC for unpaid taxes in the region of £2.7million.

The judge hearing the case, Justice Birrs, made clear at the last hearing on 18th September he would not grant a further adjournment beyond Monday. He also made it clear he was allowing this delay because there was “a genuinely real prospect” of Renault acquiring Lotus which would “allow significant funding to go into the company”.

Ecclestone muses, “It’s strange that a company as large as Renault are taking such a long time to make a decision, to be honest with you.

“They’ve been waiting for us to make a contribution to give them a reason to do something, which we’ve done two weeks ago. So I don’t know.”

Ecclestone claims the matter of the ‘historic’ payments Renault require from FOM, was ‘sorted’ 2 weeks ago.

If this is the case, the strange ‘ongoing discussions’ with Red Bull may well be something to do with Renault’s failure to acquire the Enstone team as of yet.

Suzuka installs larger crane at Dunlop Turn


Picture: GPUpdate

The reach of the crane means cars can be removed without the use of the kind of recovery vehicle Bianchi crashed into this side of the fence.

Also following 2014’s wet race, attempts to improve drainage at Suzuka have been made – courtesy of porous asphalt strips and ‘U’ drains along the side of the circuit.

Massa says Suzuka drainage upgrades have failed

Following the Jules Bianchi tragedy at the 2014 Japanese GP, the Suzuka circuit has made a number of changes to improve drainage. The rain during FP1 on Friday gave the drivers an opportunity to asses the improvements.

Felipe Massa does not believe there is any improvement. “I think when it’s raining and there’s a lot of water, the aquaplaning is the main issue for me on this track, so I don’t think so.

“It’s not easy to remove. You can even see on television there are a lot of rivers.

“This has always been a problem with this track since I started and I really don’t see any improvement.”

Daniel Ricciardo agreed: “This morning on the install lap, the rivers were pretty much the same as last year,” Ricciardo said.

“Nothing obvious for me, but most of us stayed on the track, so maybe that’s something!”

The FIA have mandated since the Bianchi enquiry that F1 events avoid times of the year when a host country has seasonal extreme weather conditions. This appears not to have filtered through to Bernie Ecclestone.

Horner piles into Renault yet again whilst admitting VW is no longer an option

I think what you have to understand with Red Bull is that having paid for an engine with Renault throughout our relationship, as a paying customer, it’s unacceptable to get a product as inferior as we’ve received.

The again, no one wins all the time in Formula One.

Christian, whose job may be on the line if Red Bull pull out of F1still found it in himself to joke when asked if we could safely assume it would not be provided by Volkswagen, Horner wryly quipped: “That seemed to go up in smoke.”

Latest picture from VW

VW Diesel gate

16 responses to “Daily News and F1 Comment: Saturday 26th September, 2015

  1. Where can Alonso go and win another major title?

    WTCC- nope (not many have made a successful transition from open wheel to tin tops)

    WEC- nope (not the type who likes to share)

    WRC- nope (just ask Kimi and Kubica)

    Indycar – hmmm maybe…

    GT Championship- nope

    DTM – nope (Coulthard and Mika)

    NASCAR – nope (JPM)

    Aussie V8 – nope

    Not many at all

      • I have a good friend who lives on the Isle of Lewis and, having driven up there (and taken the 2 hour ferry from Ullapool to Stornoway), I can confirm that yes, indeed, it is one of the more picturesque corners of the British Isles.
        Admittedly, when I travelled the Minch was as still as a millpond, not an everyday occurrence, but the fish and chips are excellent, and the sea-kayaking is out of this world.

      • @Paul

        I checked again and nothing has changed, it’s still boring.

        Time to come up with something more imaginative. However you do get brownie points for persistence.

      • Weeeelllll, I’d like to see Hammy in NASCAR, eatin’ BBQ an’ drankin’ beer with them good ol’ boys!

  2. Mattiacci was brought in exclusively to chop alonso, did anyone think he was brought in to actually run the race team?

    This is a standard tactic to clear personnel and arrivabene then of course is the good guy who’s all smiles. I can’t be the only one who saw this on day 1 of Mattiacci role as TP.

    Mattiacci did a great job running North American sales for ferrari (selling more cars than ever before), I heard he was leaving for something else anyways and Ferrari asked him to chop alonso as a going away present – he had a bonus tied to whether he could get alonso to leave on his own will, thus saving ferrari a big payment to Alonso. Vettels contract was signed long before Alonso left. It had to have been fun to see such a tiny man so upset.


  3. The Lotus mechanics did not have lunch at the Paddock Club. They had lunch at the Paddock Club Canteen – that’Äs the facility for the staff. No Caviar and Champagne…

    • A case of what the Lord (at least in his own head) taketh away with one hand, he giveth back with the other….
      And the poor fuckers had to thank him for it.
      Andy Warhol has no shame.

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